Dear Home-Ec 101,
I have read your post on ‘How to Mop‘ but I have a question for you about the type of mop to use.
I have a string mop and one of those flat mops with a removable cloth that can go through the washer after it is used. I think the string mop is easier to use – gets in corners easier, I can get up on the baseboards, and I feel like it’s faster, but it also feels dirty to me. It feels unsanitary and like I’m just spreading the dirt around my house and then re-spreading the next time I get it out to use.
Is it? I have tile floors and wood floors. What is the best type of mop to use?
Mopping Makes Me Go “Meh”
The key to keeping a cotton string mop from being disgusting, is to clean it THOROUGHLY after each use. As you have noted cotton string mops have some distinct advantages over their sponge mop counterparts.
Wash the mop thoroughly after each use under HOT running water until the water runs clear, wring it thoroughly, and allow it to dry completely. Some cotton string mop heads can even be thrown into your clothes washer, if it makes you feel better. (Just be sure you remove the metal part of the head or you’ll scratch up the inside of your washing machine which may lead to rust stains on your clothes.
Never leave a cotton mop soaking in dirty mop water, or you’re right, you will be spreading nasty things all over your home. And using a mop bucket with a wringer will make your life easier.
Sponge mops may be a little easier to clean, but they do need to be replaced more often and are not a good choice for textured flooring. Well, not a good choice unless you find shredded mop bits an attractive decorative addition.
Finally, here’s something to remember. We may joke about floors being clean enough to eat off of, but that’s not what floors are for. The only time you really need to worry about the floors is if you have infants who are crawling around. By all means, sweep and vacuum up the dust bunnies and grit (which will harm both your carpet and your hard flooring) and always spot mop anything sticky or greasy -we’re not out to invite unwanted guests here, either, but really try not to stress out too much about germs on the floor.
We wash our hands properly before preparing food and eating for a reason, as humans we do come into contact with germs. It’s normal, unless our immune systems are compromised, we’re built to withstand a little bit of exposure. In fact there is some evidence that we evolved in such a way that NOT being exposed to germs may actually do more harm than good.
Not every surface in our home has to be sanitary. That said, always mop the kitchen first and the bathroom last, just like in the shower or tub, where you wash your face before you wash your butt…
And regarding your hardwood floors, you shouldn’t be mopping often and when you do, it’s a DAMP mop, not a wet mop (that’s where the wringer really comes in). Try to stick to using a dust mop and then spot mopping only when necessary. Tile can take more frequent mopping and thanks to the grout, a string mop is a better choice.
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